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pair of leather breeches like the wild deer of the forest ! purely, my friend, it is the destiny of man to be for ever subjected to petty evils, which, however trifling in appearance, prey in silence on this little pittance of enjoyment, and poison these moments of sunshine, which might otherwise be consecrated to håppiness.
The want of a garment, thou wilt say, is easily supplied; and thou mayest suppose need only be mentioned, to be remedied at once by any tailor of the land.
Little canst thou conceive the impediments which stand in the way of my comfort, and still less art thou acquainted with the prodigious great scale on which every thing is transacted in this country. The nation moves most majestically slow and clumsy in the most trivial affairs, like the unwieldy elephant which makes a formidable difficulty of picking up a straw! When I hinted my necessities to the officer who has charge of myself and my companions, I expected to have been forthwith relieved; but he made an amazingly long face-told me that we were prisoners of state that we must therefore be clothed at the expense of the government; that as no provision has been made by the Congress for an emergency of the kind, it was impossible to furnish me with a pair of breeches, until all the sages of the nation had been convened to talk over the matter, and debate upon the expediency of granting my request. Sword of the immortal Khalid, thought I, but this is great!—this is truly sublime!
All the sages in an immense logocracy assembled together to talk about my breeches ! - Vain mortal that I am! I cannot but own 'I was somewhat reconciled to the delay which must necessarily attend this method of clothing me, by the consideration that if they made the affair a national act, my
name must of course be embodied in history,” and myself and my breeches flourish to immortality in the annals of this mighty empire! But
pray, sir," said I, “how does it happen that a matter so insignificant should be erected into an object of such importance as to employ the representative wisdom of the nation?. and what is the cause of their talking so much about a trifle!”—“Oh,” replied the officer, who
acts as our slave-driver; “it all proceeds from sconomy. If the government did not spend ten times as much money in debating whether it was proper to supply you with breeches as the breeches themselves would cost, the people, who govern the bashaw and his divan, would straightway begin to complain of their liberties being infringed-the national finances squandered—not a hos tile slang-whanger throughout the logocracy but would burst forth like a barrel of combustion and ten chances to one but the bashaw and the sages of his divan would all be turned out of office together. My good Mussulman," continued he," the administration have the good of the people too much at heart to trifle with their pockets; and they would sooner assemble and talk away ten thousand dollars than expend fifty silently out of the treasury -such is the wonderful spirit of economy that pervades every branch of this government. But," said I,“ how is it possible they can spend money in talking: surely words cannot be the current coin of this country?". “ Truly,” cried he, smiling," your question is pertinent enongh, for words indeed often supply the place of cash among us, and many an honest debt is paid in promises; but the fact is, the grand bashaw and the members of Congress, or grand talkers of the nation, either receive a yearly salary or are paid by the day.”-By the nine hundred tongues of the great beast in Mahomet's vision, but the murder is out! it is no wonder these honest men talk so much about nothing, when they are paid for talking like day-labourers." “ You are mistaken," said my driver;
“ it is nothing but economy.” I remained silent for some minutes, for this inexplicable word economy always discomfits me;mand when I fatter myself I have grasped it, it slips through my fingers like a jack-o'lantern. I have not, nor perhaps ever shall acquire, sufficient of the philosophic policy of this government, to draw a proper distinction between an individual and a nation. If a man was to throw away a pound in order to save a beggarly penny, and boast at the same time of his economy, I should think him on a par with the fool in the fable of Alfanji; who, in skin
ning a flint worth & farthing, spoiled a knife worth fifty times the sum, and thought he had acted wisely. The shrewd fellow would doubtless have valued himself much more highly on his economy, could he have known that his example would one day be followed by the bashaw of America, and the sages of his divan.
This economic disposition, my friend, occasions much fighting of the spirit, and innumerable contests of the tongue in this talking assembly. Wouldst thou believe it? they were actually employed for a whole week in a most strenuous and eloquent debate about patching up a hole in the wall in the room appropriated to their meeta ings! A vast profusion of nervous argument and pompaus declamation was expended on the occasion. Some of the orators, I am told, being rather waggishly inclined, were most stupidly jocular on the occasion; but their waggery gave great offence, and was highly reprobated by the more weighty part of the assembly; who hold all wit and humour in abomination, and thought the business in hand much too solemn and serious to be treated lightly. It was supposed by some that this affair would have occupied a whole winter, as it was a subject upon which several gentlemen spoke who had never been known to open their lips in that place except to say yes and no.--These silent members are by way of distinction denominated orator mums, and are highly valued in this country on account of their great talents for silence; a qualification extremely rare in a logocracy.
Fortunately for the public tranquility, in the hottest part of the debate, when two rampant Virginians, brim-' full of logic and philosophy, were measuring tongues, and syllogistically cudgelling each other out of their unreasonable notions, the president of the divan, a knowiug old gentleman, one night slyly sent a mason with a hod of mortar, who in the course of a few minutes closed up the hole, and put a final end to the argument.
Thus did this wise old gentleman, by hitting on a most simple expedient, in all probability, save his country as much money as would build a gun-boat, or pay a hireling slangwhanger for a whole volume of words. As it happened,
only a few thousand dollars were expended in paying these men, who are denominated, I suppose in derision, legislators.
Another instance of their economy I relate with pleasure, for I really begin to feel a regard for these poor barbarians. They talked away the best parts of a whole winter before they could determine not to expend a few dollars in purchasing a sword to bestow on an illustrious warrior: yes, Asem, on that very hero who frightened all our poor old women and young children at Derne, and fully proved himself a greater man than the mother that bore him*. Thus, my friend, is the whole collective wisdom of this mighty logocracy employed in somniferous debates about the most trivial affairs; as I bave sometimes seen a Herculean mountebank exerting al his energies in ballancing a straw upon his nose. Their sages behold the minutest object with the micros-' copic eyes of a pismire; mole-hills swell into mountains, and a grain of mustard-seed will set the whole ant-hill in a hubbub. Whether this indicates a capacious vision, or a diminutive mind, I leave thee to decide; for my part I.consider it as another proof of the great scale on which every thing is transacted in this country.
I have before told thee that nothing can be done without consulting the sages of the nation, who compose the assembly called the Congress. This prolific body may, not improperly be called the “mother of inventions;" and a most fruitful mother it is, let me tell thee, though its children are generally abortions. It has lately laboured with what was deemed the conception of a mighty navy. All the old women and the good wives that assist the bashaw in his emergencies hurried to head-quarters to be busy, like midwives, at the delivery.—All was anxiety, fidgeting, and consultation; when after a deal of groaning and struggling, instead of formidable first-rates and gallant frigates, out crept a litter of sorry little gun-boats! These are most pitiful little vessels, partaking vastly of
* General Eaton.
the character of the grand bashaw, who has the credit of begetting them; being flat shallow vessels that can onJy sail before the wind;-must always keep in with the land ;-are continually foundering or running on shore; and in short, are only fit for smooth water. Though in. tended for the defence of the maritime cities, yet the cities are obliged to defend them; and they require as much nursing as so many rickety little bantlings. They are, however, the darling pets of the grand bashaw, being the children of his dotage, and, perhaps from their diminutive size and palpable weakness, are called the “ infant navy of America."
The art that brought them into existence was almost deified by the majority of the people as a grand stroke of economy.-By the beard of Mahomet, but this word is truly inexplicable!
To this economic body therefore was I advised to address my petition, and humbly to pray that the august assembly of sages would, in the plenitude of their wisdom and the magnitude of their powers, munificently bestow on an unfortunate captive a pair of cotton breeches ! “ Head of the immortal Amrou," cried I, “but this would be presumptuous to a degree:-What! after these worthies have thought proper to leave their country naked and defenceless, and exposed to all the political storms that rattle without, can I expect that they will lend a helping hand to comfort the extremities of a solitary captive?” My exclamation was only answered by a smile, and I was consoled by the assurance that, so far from being neglected, it was every way probable my breeches might occupy a whole session of the divan, and set several of the longest heads together by the ears. Flattering aus was the idea of a whole nation being agitated about my breeches, yet I own I was somewhat dismayed at the idea of remaining in querpo, until all the national gray-beards should have made a speech on the occasion, and given their consent to the measure. The embarrassment and distress of mind which I experienced were visible in my countenance, and my guard, who is a man of infinite good-nature, immediately suggested, as a more expeditious plan of supplying my wants, a benefit at the theatre,